The Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the field at Raymond James Stadium for the Wild Card Round. Philadelphia enters playing with house money against the defending Super Bowl champs.
There are three games scheduled for the Wild Card on Sunday, with the Eagles and Buccaneers kicking the card off at 1:00 p.m. EST. The conditions are not supposed to be favorable in Tampa, though rain and thunderstorms are expected to clear by kick-off.
The Eagles can’t be scared by the Buccaneers and see this as a win-win situation. If the Eagles lose, oh well, they weren’t expected to be here to begin with and can go into the offseason looking to improve on what they started.
Eagles fans have heard this before, though. When they went on that run to the Super Bowl, no one believed in the Eagles, certainly not the oddsmakers. They were underdogs in every playoff game, including the Super Bowl against the guy piloting the Buccaneers on Sunday.
Before the Bucs and @Eagles meet on Sunday, let's throw it back to the last time Brady faced Philly in the Playoffs ?
Super Bowl LII and the Philly Special ?
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 14, 2022
Tom Brady passed for a mile in that Super Bowl, but he couldn’t save the Patriots from Nick Foles. Brady is on a different team, though the Eagles will look for another upset over him.
The Washington Football Team were playing with house money last year in the Wild Card and gave the Bucs a good game. Washington stayed within double digits for a 31-23 loss. The Eagles have to look at that game and believe that they can stay within striking distance for a win.
Tampa goes into the playoffs at 13-4, winning in three straight and seven of their last eight attempts. They have looked vulnerable this season, though. Down the stretch, the Bucs lost to the New Orleans Saints, 9-0, and edged the New York Jets, 28-24.
Philadelphia was riding a four-game winning streak before putting most starters on the bench in the final week. They are coming off two wins against the Panthers and one over the Jets. Their most recent “good” win was a 33-27 final in overtime over the Buffalo Bills five games back.
Head below for our free Eagles vs. Buccaneers Wild Card prediction for January 16, 2022.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Odds and Team Statistics:
The following odds are courtesy of BetUS:
|Philadelphia Eagles||+9.5 (-120)||+315||Over 45.5 (-110)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-9.5 (+100)||-375||Under 45.5 (-110)|
|Team Data||Philadephial Eagles||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Points Per Game||26.1||30.1|
|Points Against Per Game||22.6||20.8|
|Passing Yards Per Game||200.2||307.6|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||159.7||98.4|
Eagles vs. Buccaneers Prediction:
There are thunderstorms in the forecast early in Tampa, Florida on Sunday. Most of the storms and heavy rain should pass by kick-off, though the wind is expected to pick up in the afternoon. There are reportedly consistent gusts over 20 mph and occasional gusts over 30 mph in the forecast.
You can look at this one of two ways for the Eagles. They have a terrific run game and offensive line. The offensive line has been stronger than expected and is the unheralded saviors of this team that got them to the playoffs. Philadelphia is first in the league with 159.7 rushing yards per game.
Jalen Hurts this season:
PFF grade: 80.8 ❗️
10th among all QBs ❗️ pic.twitter.com/Nt371wLSqM
— PFF PHI Eagles (@PFF_Eagles) January 13, 2022
Also helping is a mobile quarterback in Jalen Hurts. Hurts has galloped for 784 yards and 5.6 yards per attempt. Miles Sanders is expected to start on Sunday only three weeks after undergoing hand surgery. He has rushed for 754 yards on 5.5 yards per carry this season.
The Eagles’ option offense will have to carry the Eagles in the wind. Even if there wasn’t wind, they would stick to the ground. Hurts has passed for 3,144 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions on 61.3% completions. The Eagles are 25th in the NFL with 200.2 passing yards per game.
My problem with the Eagles is that they will eventually have to develop a play through the air. The Buccaneers are third-best in the league, with 92.5 rushing yards allowed per game. The Bucs’ talented defensive line should force Hurts into making a big play or two with his arm.
Philadelphai Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Trends:
- 4-2 ATS in their previous six games versus the Buccaneers
- 5-0 ATS in thier previous five games versus the NFC South
- 4-1 ATS in their previous five games after a loss
- UNDER is 5-1 in their previous six games in January
- UNDER is 6-2 in their previous eight playoff games
- 6-2 ATS in their previous eight games
- 6-1 ATS in their previous eight games at Tampa Bay
- 4-1 ATS in their previous five games versus the NFC
- UNDER is 5-1 in their previous six games versus the NFC
- UNDER is 5-1 in their previous six games as a betting favorite in the playoffs
Hurts doesn’t have the strongest arm to begin with, and the wind will not help him on Sunday afternoon. He passed for 115 yards with a touchdown and interception versus the Bucs on October 14. The Bucs’ secondary can be beaten, but this game is setting up in the Buccaneers’ favor in that regard. Philadelphia likely can’t exploit the Tampa weakness.
Philadelphia has an underrated defense that might create some plays at Raymond James Stadium. Tom Brady hasn’t been unbreakable this season. Brady was steady with 297 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception in a 28-22 win earlier this season over the Eagles.
He’s not a guy I’d want to see in the playoffs as a defensive coordinator, for obvious reasons, though a talented Eagles’ defensive line might create some havoc.
The Buccaneers have allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL this season. Javon Hargrove, 7.5 sacks, Fletcher Cox, 3.5 sacks, and Josh Sweat, 7.5 sacks, will be coming hard at Brady. The Eagles have forced a QB pressure in 31.2% of plays for third-best in the NFL.
Lowest passer rating allowed in single coverage this season:
? Darius Slay – 25.6 ? pic.twitter.com/y6msovasll
— PFF (@PFF) January 14, 2022
Philadelphia is in the top-10 with 238.8 yards allowed per game. They are 9th against the run, 107.9 yards allowed, and 11th versus the pass, 220.9 yards conceded.
The Eagles have a veteran-led secondary with Darius Slay and Stevon Nelson at cornerback, and Anthony Harris and Rodney McLeod lurking at safety. With the wind swirling at Raymond James Stadium, the Eagles need their playmakers on defense.
I don’t envision a back-and-forth game on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles have to lean on their run game and hopefully win the time of possession. They should turn this game into a low-scoring game.
Brady should be able to pick his way down the field, but the Eagles likely limit their quick-strike ability in the wind. I’m pointing towards an UNDER game with a final score of fewer than 46 points on the board.